Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Thou Shalt Laugh’

A Smack of the Crosier Goes to . . .

February 15th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen


In their new series “The Chicago Code,” FOX producers and directors (henceforth “meddlers”) took it upon themselves to alter a classic television and film scenario. Picture this: a policeman, finding himself confronted with a moral dilemma, wanders into a Catholic church and kneels down in prayer. You can practically smell the beeswax candles, maybe even see a faint pall of incense hanging in the air. The policeman silently fingers his rosary, while fighting an inner battle between what is right and what is easy. Then you hear footsteps coming down the aisle, and a kindly priest in his clerical garb stops, bends low, and whispers words of wisdom and comfort to the afflicted lawman.

But what’s this? Not on FOX?

Alas, no. In the particular episode in question, one of the main characters of the series, Wysocki, stops by a Catholic church and finds himself being offered spiritual counsel, not from a priest, but from a nun in street-clothes.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see a priest fulfilling that sort of role on television. After all, the real thing is terrifying enough without having to see it reenacted in the sanctuaries of our living rooms.

(On that note: Sr. Joan Sobala will be taking the place of District Attorney Jack McCoy in Law and Order’s next season. After all, if she can pretend to be a priest, she can pretend to be anything.)

"I am what I am, and it is what it is." Former DA Jack McCoy expresses his desire to become a male nun at a February 12th press conference. "If Sr. Sobala can fight for a female priesthood, I'll fight for a male nunhood."

(Photo credit for Sr. Joan: Emily McKean Photography)

Ad Orientem Worship

January 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

I found this amusing. I think you will, too.

In Joyful Appreciation of the the Anglican Ordinariate

January 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

I knew that the Church of England had problems, but now I really know it. Thank you Jeffrey Tucker!

Pull Up Your Pants – Tuck In Your Amice

December 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I stumbled upon this video this morning as I was making my internet rounds. In essence, the City of Memphis got sick and tired of seeing its students “bustin’ the sag” – wearing their pants below the “thou shalt not” zone. And so, if any student is seen “bustin’ the sag,” they get “Urkeled.” Basically, the teacher, principal, or whoever sees them dressing like that is permitted (and encouraged) to pull their pants up above their navels, thus emulating the quintessential nerd from Family Matters. The students, who dread being forced to look like scholars of the very-intense variety, have opted to start dressing appropriately, thus negating the need for the teachers to rectify their sag-bustin’ tendencies. Indeed, the program has become quite a success, and may very well spread to other school districts.

This got me thinking – maybe we should do the same thing with our priests and religious? If you see Fr. So-and-so wearing his stole over his chasuble, it’s your duty to see that he gets thoroughly “Ratzingered.” You know what that means – tuck his stole under his chasuble. If you see Sr. Whoever wearing a billowing pillowsheet alb, go up and tie a chapel veil around her pretty little face. Just like how the Memphis school district noticed better-dressing students, we’ll notice better-dressing priests and religious. So remember – you have the right to see that all poorly-vested priests get “Ratzingered” on the spot. If they put up a fuss, strap a biretta on their head. That’ll teach them to wear rainbow stoles.

Merry Christmahannukhwanzamadan

December 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Argentine cleric attacks Santa Claus as “fat, red man”

December 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

“Has no business in the Christmas celebrations of Christianity.”

From the New Oxford Review’s Daily Feed

“Buenos Aires – Worshippers at the Catholic cathedral in Resistencia in north-western Argentina could barely believe their ears when their archbishop demonized Christmas’ jolliest figure…”

Read the brief article here.

Mass Etiquette – Part I: The Congregation

December 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Something which we have not, as of yet, addressed at Cleansing Fire is the topic of “liturgical etiquette,” that is, how people ought to act at Mass. Before you begin reading this post (and those which will follow it) you must realize that these observations are just that – observations. They are not judgments on people’s souls, attacks on children, or manifestations of cold-hearted anti-social tendencies. They are, however, simple pointers as to what you should and should not do at Mass. We will examine this in a multi-part series of posts which will encompass the following categories: 1. the Congregation, 2. the Servers, 3. the Lector, 4. the Choir, 5. the Family.

Part I: The Congregation

Thou shalt not:

  • Turn around during Mass. It disturbs those who may be trying to focus on something other than your charming visage, something such as the Blessed Sacrament or the liturgical dancer.
  • Slouch in your pew.
  • Talk during “off moments” at Mass, i.e. the Offertory (the collection), the Kiss of Peace, the time after Communion. You’re in the presence of God – act like it.
  • Congregate to talk after Mass while still inside the church building – go into a vestibule, the social hall, the atrium, the parking lot, or whatever facilities may be provided.
  • Make up words to hymns.
  • Cough and/or sneeze into your hands and then proceed to offer the sign of peace to those around you.
  • “slurp” the Precious Blood or “crunch” the host. You’re receiving God Himself, not some pre-lunch appetizer.
  • Yawn in the face of the priest/other minister(s). It shows a certain sense of disinterest in the Sacred Mysteries.
  • Crinkle paper, rustle plastic bags, flip pages loudly, or make other unnecessary noises. Silence is golden, and chances are your noise-making will disrupt the silent prayerfulness of those around you.

Thou Shalt:

  • Be attentive to the words of the Mass.
  • Feel free to sing from the hymnal or chant book – it’s there for a reason!
  • Act with reverence in everything – if you need to cross before the tabernacle on the way to the restroom, genuflect. If you pass the altar on your way back to the pew (or comfy chair), bow.
  • Be joyful in your disposition. Don’t be melancholy – there’s a big difference between reverence and depression.

Just as how there is proper etiquette for a fancy dinner, there is proper etiquette for Mass. I guess if we take the theme given to us by some of our more liberal friends, we could say that the Mass is “just a fancy dinner.” In actuality it’s much more than that, but for the sake of laying out what is polite and what is not it serves its purpose as a piece of trite sacramental theology.

The next piece of this series will focus on the etiquette of the servers (and other ministers within the sanctuary). Again – this isn’t some sanctimonious sermon on how badly you behave at Mass. It’s just a gentle reminder that you need to recall the simple fact that when you’re at Mass, you’re God’s guest. You’re not there to be entertained – you’re there to pray.

What’s a Modernist?

December 9th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

A hilarious clip from “The Bishop’s Gambit” episode of Yes, Prime Minister.  While this episode originally aired on the BBC almost a quarter century ago, it remains amazingly relevant today.


BTW, Cleansing Fire posted a much shorter version of this clip here some 16 months ago.

H/T: choirloft

Weak in the knees?

December 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Ink

Does your back start to hurt when the communion line is too long and you are kneeling for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time, or longer?

Don’t let your uptightness get in the way!  Try the new and improved Three-Point-Kneel!

It takes the stress off your back but, at the same time, you’re still kneeling and being reverent! As an added bonus, the level of your head does not change significantly so nobody except the people sitting next to you notices!

If you’re tired but you feel exceptionally trendy, try the snazzy Eastern Style!  A traditional Japanese sitting style for millennia, it has been imported into the United States for ease of post-communion sitting.

For Those Of You Who Don’t Think Polyphony is Cool . . .

November 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Just watch this group performing a popular Beatles’ hit, “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Polyphony, even secular, is just awesome.

This Guy is Such an (insert charitable word for “idiot”)

November 28th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

As heard on television:

“Latin has no place in modern society, per se.”

That Sexist Macy’s Parade

November 27th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

From the daily newsfeed of the  National Catholic Register

Nov 26, 2010 04:22 pm

By Danielle Bean

Do you watch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade? What’s your favorite part? The corny commentators? The baton twirlers? The teeny-bop music? Or … all those giant sexist balloons? You see, Mr. Potato Head isn’t just a fun character and an amusing part of the traditional holiday festivity. He’s an inflatable symbol of the oppression of little girls …

Read the brief article here.


November 24th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

In what I can only imagine to be some kind of appeal to the younger crowd, the folks at St. Anne Church have wished everyone a blessed Thanksgiving in their language of instant messaging abbreviations. BFF is “best friends forever” unless I’m overlooking some obvious meaning more relevant to a parish’s Thanksgiving message . . .

So to all my BFF’s, you the readers, I wish a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving!

OCD Sufferings at the Hands of Facebook

November 23rd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I like even numbers. A lot. Our Facebook page has 99 fans . . . that’s just one less than 100. We can express 100 in so many ways – 20 rows of 5, 10 rows of 10, 25 rows of 4, etc. But 99?

Do the charitable thing and become our 100th Facebook fan. It will let me breathe a bit easier.!/pages/Cleansing-Fire-Diocese-of-Rochester/146454297619

Help! Moral Dilemma

November 19th, 2010, Promulgated by b a

It’s a lose-lose situation. My daughter received the below Terrible Towel for her birthday. Do we let her keep it or burn it? If we keep it, we’re pretty much spitting on the late Myron Cope’s grave. If we burn it, we run the risk of bringing the Terrible Curse upon our family. Any moral theologians out there (preferably not from St. Bernard’s) who could offer some advice?


Onward and Upward

November 17th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

All – as much as I enjoy blogging with you, I feel that I am being called to do something else. What will I be doing? I’m applying to be the Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Rochester. It’s like God has tailored me for this job. Just look at the description as found on the DoR website:

Director of Liturgy for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, NY – assist the Bishop to work with clergy and parishes in fostering sound liturgical practice throughout the 12 county Diocese (See? “Sound liturgical practice” – That’s me!). Responsible for overseeing all diocesan liturgies (that means I’d be in charge of the Chrism Mass – no more prancing merry-men in tights) and conducting liturgical formation on diocesan and parish levels (My formation would include making every priest and liturgical minister read the actual documents of Vatican II on liturgy). Successful candidate will be a faith-filled person who believes in the values of the Second Vatican Council (The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. Sacrosanctum Concillium 116) and have proven leadership, administrative and communication skills (I trust running Cleansing Fire will suffice?). Background should include a Master degree in Liturgical studies or Theology and a minimum of 3-5 years parish experience, diocesan experience desirable.Send resume to Mary Bauer, Human Resources, Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester NY 14624 – Fax (585-328-3149) email

So what do you think my chances are? Personally, I can’t even fathom the responsibility of this office. Imagine . . . Me! . . . in an alb . . . with that white binder . . . and that haircut which I guess is mandatory for people in this role . . . and the ability to actually smack people with a crozier. Gives you chills, doesn’t it?

**Please note – I am being totally sarcastic. I have no interest to bring myself to hippie-induced suicidal depression.**

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

November 5th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November . . . ”

Some of you may be wondering who on Earth “Guy Fawkes” is. Let me give you the condensed version of his story:

In essence, he was a peeved English Catholic, angered by the lack of civil rights afforded Catholics in the early 17th Century under the reign of James I, the son of Mary Queen of Scots, martyr for the Roman Catholic Church. James, however, turned his back on his mother’s legacy and thoroughly embraced the Protestantism of Elizabethan England. And so, like any rationally-thinking Englishman displeased with the political and religious trends of the day, he planned to blow up Parliament and the entire House of Lords with a secret stash of gunpowder. Of course, he was was caught and tortured until he broke his silence and explained the whole plot and those who were involved. The “Catholic plot” to topple Protestant England was actually one of the main reasons that Catholics enjoyed less civil rights than any other group in England, well into the 1800’s. And thus the traditional celebration on this day, the day upon which those wicked Catholics failed to blow up God’s chosen people (or so the Tudors and Stuarts would say).

So I’d like to take this moment to remind you not to attempt to blow up those who oppress us in one way or another. It’s uncouth.

And one final interesting thing about King James – it is speculated by many reputable historians that James was, in our own contemporary terminology, a “flamer.” He had several . . . special . . . male friends who always seemed to be hovering around his throne. Indeed, there was a popular saying in England at this time which stated, “Rex fuit Elizabeth, nunc est regina Iacobus” (Elizabeth was King, now James is Queen). Who says you can’t have fun with Latin? 

A Lesson in Diocesan Administration

October 27th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Vatican Newspaper Praises Homer Simpson

October 19th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie
From today’s New Oxford Review Daily News Feed:

Fox Network

In the slightly tongue-in-cheek piece, the Holy See’s mouthpiece praises the iconoclastic cartoon for remaining “among the few TV programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion, and the question of God are recurring themes.”

Read the short article here:, Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Biblical Basis for Heterodox Liturgical Music

October 17th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie